I know there is regularly a thread that pops up on this subject every few weeks or so, but I need help with my stickhandling.
I'm not a newbie by any means. I'm in my late 20s, I've been playing hockey since I was a kid, and I play in two beer league teams all year round. I'm never the worst player on my team, but my stickhandling skills are almost non-existant. I'm usually one the fastest skaters on the ice, so I figure if I could hang on to the puck for more than half a second, I would be a much better player.
I do a few practice drills, I rollerblade to practice my stickhandling once in a while, but I can't seem to be able to translate that when I'm in a game situation. I'm tired of seeing players with half my speed deeking 4 guys without breaking a sweat.
What else can I do to improve my stickhandling?
I've seen the Skinner Hockey DVDs online, but it's a lot of money. Has anyone purchased those? Are they worth the money? Anyone actually see results in their game?
Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
Try playing ball hockey on your feet. It helps develop your dekes and forces you to keep your feet moving while you're doing it. It's a hell of a lot harder to deke when you are constantly on the move as opposed to gliding and doing the same thing.
I read a few different ways to improve your hands.
1. pick up lacrosse and im serious. i played since i was in 8th grade and i really started to see a difference in my hands. my passes became better my accuracy improved and it helped my catch passes alot better.
2. get a ball i prefer a smarthockey one. but get some kinda ball that doesnt bounce to much and get a stick and just stand in a room listening to music or watching tv and stand there stick handling and after you get more comfortable with than step up to dekes and other moves i would do this on the gym floor at my school waiting for the bus to bring us to games.
You can try to get two pylons and line them up side by side (or 2 of anything that will stand on its own) separated by about 2-3 feet and stick handle in a figure 8 motion thru them. Once you get that hang of it, then you can go crazy and start testing yourself in all different directions without hitting the cones or losing the puck. Start off slow, then work your way up to speed and try and do it backwards as well. This should help a bit.
Also, try doing it with your head up while keeping an open eye for an invisible open man. Where ever you see that open man...hit em with a pass as quickly and hard as possible. If you really wanna get crazy you can set up cones or targets all around and try to make contact on the targets with a pass. Force yourself to keep your head up.
Another thing you can do considering you won't always get ice time...practice with a golf ball outdoors; and unless you're in an open area, I strongly suggest sticking to the handling. Shoot that golf ball and it'll take the ******* off possibly causing you to break someone window lmao.
Keep your head up at all times as this will train you to have a feel for the puck without actually looking at it.
Get a golf ball and some pucks. Set the pucks up so that you force yourself to stickhandle to both sides of your body and out in front. Another good thing is to take a 6" piece of PVC (I thing 1-1/2" fits on the stick) and hold that with your bottom hand. It teaches you to control the stick with your dominate hand which is your top. After a few minutes of that and your wrist will be burning.
You have to be able to feel the puck before your going to start beating defenders with your hands. You posted before that your pretty quick so what I would consider doing is come in and slow yourself down a bit and start going left to right and then real quick just kick it outside and go right around him. If you can, slide the puck between the heel of his stick and his skate.
One move that I love is the toe drag, pretty self explanatory you put the toe of your stick on the front of the puck and pull it back. The easiest way to learn this one is to take a roller hockey puck or a ball and just keep hitting it from your heel to the toe of your stick as fast as you can back and forth. It'll help you become comfortable pulling the puck back.
I recently bought one of those smarthockey balls, so I'll try to do a few dry land practice drills on a regular basis. The pick-up games are probably a good idea as well.
What about dekes and stuff? I can carry the puck up the ice, but my big problem is one on one with the d.
The best advice I can give you is learn to change gears on D-man.
Come at him in 4th gear, drop into 3rd, as he closes in throw it in 5th and take off. If done properly you can get around most D-man (considering you have good speed as you mentioned)
Then once your hands come from around from all the practice, try the above mentioned with some nifty stick handling moves. Always keep your head up, as this will help you read what the D-man are doing and you can anticipate your next move, keeping the puck away from defending poke checks, etc.
Also...while some players are better stick handlers than others, with the right amount of practice I think you'll be able to satisfy your goals.
Practice, practice, PRACTICE. When you're comfortable, test yourself out in game situations as this is the best way to really get the timing down.
My experience is that ball works well for the very beginner as it helps improve coordination. But it's way more forgiving than the puck, hence the motions you learn with it aren't the ones you want to commit to your muscle memory.
A light puck (half-weight blue one) on a sheet if plastic worked much better for me. You might need to put a plastic tape around the edge of the puck and not tape your blade to prevent the puck from flipping. A (small!) bit of spray silicone lubricant can improve things too.
1. Knowing how to fake out your opponent
2. Having the skills to pull of the moves you want to use
Since it's summer it should be easier to get into a pickup basketball game than a hockey game. Practice your one-on-one skills by playing basketball and later transfer them to hockey.
1. Practice ball protection -- keep your body between the ball and your defender as you advance toward the basket.
2. Use head fakes -- make your defender think you'll drive in one direction, get him to commit, switch direction and drive to the basket. Know how much distance you'll need to keep between you and the defender to pull this off. The closer he gets to you before you fake the more effective this move can be, but the harder it is to pull off.
3. Most important, learn to use your team mates -- if you're covered pass the ball then look to get open again so the ball carrier can pass it back to you.
Now figure what skills & muscle training you'll need to adapt them to hockey.
1. Puck protection -- Adapting this to hockey, practice dragging the puck (or practice ball) with your stick on either side of your body. Anticipate how a defender will move and how you'll use your body to shield the puck against a poke check or an outright steal. Learn how to drive against a defender, also how to pivot and take the puck in a different direction. Build leg strength by doing squats and practice dragging a ball with either side of your stick blade, both in straight lines and in circles.
2. Head fakes -- Most important is being able to fake one way and then explode in the other direction while keeping control of the puck. Develop explosive strength by jumping laterally from one foot to the other. Keeping the ball in front of you practice sweeping the ball quickly from one side to the other without losing it.
3. Passing to an open team mate -- Practice making a strong pass from your forehand and from your backhand. Use a concrete or brick wall so you can also practice controlling the rebound as if it were a return pass. Be aware that in a game situation you can pass a puck to yourself by rebounding it against the wall -- once you pass the puck to your defender's left side scoot around his right and grab the rebound.